We had a birthday party for Coco in my hometown, a week belated. We wanted to celebrate with family, and this location allowed for the most people to attend, plus it's already a birthday treat to get to go to Grammy and Bops's house, right?
Of course, we celebrated Coco on her actual birthday as well. Although Zuzu and her friends were blown away by the extra-posh and professional Frozen cake she had at her party, Coco seemed equally impressed by the "Mermaid cake" that Zuzu and David made and decorated together.
Instructions for a mermaid cake:
Ingredients: yellow cake mix, white frosting, blue glitter sprinkles
Directions: follow directions on box of cake mix. Top with frosting. Accept that there's not really enough frosting and pretend the "naked cake" look is deliberate. Allow preschooler to liberally sprinkle blue glitter sprinkles over cake. Top with two plastic mermaid dolls, taken straight out of the swimming pool bag (extra points if you rinse the chlorine off first, but I can tell you from experience it's not required).
Add candles dipped at Silver Dollar City.
Coco opened gifts from us--mermaid dolls and back pack that was immediately purloined by her sister, who insisted that Coco actually wanted to trade her new butterfly backpack for Zuzu's hand-me-down owl backpack. Coco seemed fine with it, and also with sharing the mermaids, so I just let it roll.
And then we headed to my parents' and celebrated with a picnic at the park--the same park was Coco was baptized, but a different pavilion. This one was up on the hill close to the playground (and away from the alarming amount of goose poop down by the lake).
We put together a basic picnic spread--ham and cheese sandwiches, baked beans, chips, potato salad, watermelon, coleslaw, and my Aunt Dottie (pictured below talking to her brother, my Papa) brought her amazing pistachio salad. I thought I was super organized (I even had made sticker food labels!), but I managed to get to the park without silverware. Fortunately, our friend Johnny saved the day with a quick run to the store and we ate the finger foods course and then the silverware course because our picnic was super fancy like that.
We completely lucked out on the weather--for some reason, that weekend in August turned out to be a respite from the heat and we had cool breezes and low humidity. The breezes were actually so intense that I couldn't put up some of the decorations I'd brought because they just got blown around, and I had to tape the cute food labels to the plastic table cloths to keep them from blowing away, but it was still preferable to muggy stillness and it kept the bugs away.
The girls had so much fun with their cousins and friends, and I realized how independent they are becoming--Coco was the youngest of the bunch, and everyone else could play and climb with minimal adult supervision.
I borrowed a cake pan that a friend of mine had bought for her niece's second birthday, and whipped up a super adorable #2 cake (with a mix and store bought frosting). It was too windy to light the candles, but Coco didn't seem to mind and was happy to pantomime blowing them out while we sang "Happy Birthday."
It was a sweet celebration for a sweet little girl, and while I do feel a pang of not having a baby-baby anymore, it's been delightful to see her vocabulary explode and her personality assert itself more and more. She says "I love you, Mommy" now, which just slays me every time. (Particularly if she is saying it through tears as I drop her off at school and then I have to walk to my car with my heart bleeding, waiting for her teacher to text me a photo of Coco five minutes later having a great time with her friends).
The day after the party we hit the pool and Coco proved that she can keep up with her big sis when it comes to be tossed in the air.
All the cliches about days and years and blinks of eyes are so true, and I'm planning to rock this baby before bed every single night from now until forever.